Industry News

Rising Platinum Costs Impact Pressure Sensitive Industry; Dow Corning Responds with Innovative Solutions

Published on 2006-06-14. Author : SpecialChem

MIDLAND, Mich. -- Platinum metal plays a vital role in the pressure sensitive industry. Of the nearly 30 billion square meters of release liners and films coated globally each year, more than 80 percent utilize release coatings catalyzed by platinum. In these applications, platinum is absolutely necessary. Additionally, liners made with platinum- cured silicone coating require minimal post-cure and exhibit no reversion, which are essential factors, especially for in-line lamination applications.

Unfortunately, the cost of platinum metal, like any commodity, can fluctuate widely on the global commodity exchange. Recently, platinum has spiraled upward at an alarming rate and is not forecasted to decline in the near future. In 1999, the metal traded for about US$360 per troy ounce (approximately 31.10 grams). By May 2006, the price had more than tripled as it reached a historical record of US$1340, rising over 50 percent in the last year alone.

This trend has very real consequences for the pressure sensitive industry. For example, at US$850 per troy ounce, every 0.1 grams of platinum metal in a release coating costs US$2.73. At current levels of US$1320, that portion of the release coating manufacturing costs US$4.24. This calculation reflects only raw metal costs.

In its seventh successive year of deficit, the platinum market remains undersupplied by 70,000 ounces. This creates a serious situation for the release coating industry.

In short, supply and demand have put silicone suppliers in a very difficult situation as they strive to maintain price stability for their customers and for the pressure sensitive industry.

Despite significant research investment, the silicone industry has yet to find an alternative to the platinum catalyst that can match its technical performance.

However, Dow Corning Corporation adopted a proactive stance early on, took a risk and invested heavily in the development of its Syl-Off(R) Advantage Series Solventless Silicone Release Coatings. The low-cost Syl-Off Advantage Series line of products is designed to help reduce vulnerability to swings in platinum metal prices without sacrificing performance.

Source: Dow Corning Corporation

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